Death Of Suspect In Police Custody: PPRO Debunks Alleged Murder By Police

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Following the accusation by the late family of Ogodobiri Ebifemene that the police in Delta State allegedly murdered their brother, who until his death was a watchman with the state Ministry of Oil and Gas over a missing laptop and accusing the police of wanting to conduct a secret autopsy on the deceased, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) DSP Celestina Kalu said it was untrue, “when there is a controversy surrounding somebody’s death. When the police conduct autopsy, the police don’t do it independently”.

She said the family of the deceased brings in their own Doctor while that of the police would also come and work together to conduct the autopsy, “they don’t do it independently because this kind of thing might arise, there must be both sides”, the image maker reiterated.

She stated this in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in her office in Asaba, stressing that there was no time the police has done an independent autopsy on any deceased without the party (ies) involved.

She explained that when someone hung himself, the person cannot breathe well, “Your neck mustn’t break. When you seize your throat and air doesn’t pass through it, this is what it will cause when blood is no longer supplied to the brain”.

On the purported strangulation alleged by the family, DSP Kalu said “there is no feature of violence on the body, no sign of violence. You cannot use that word that he was strangled. Police are not murderers and his mates in the cell have said what they saw, he went to the toilet to hang himself”.

On the negligence of the police on duty to visit the suspect while he was in the toilet, the PPRO said, “If the police on duty that night did not visit the cell prior to that particular period the hanging happened. Maybe it can take up to 15-20 minutes for one to perpetrate the act, the person that was supposed to check didn’t perform his duty very well. Maybe if he was at alert he could have seen him staying too long in the toilet”.

When asked if it was possible for hanging to occur in the police cell, she said, “hanging can take place anywhere and it mustn’t be a ceiling fan”.

She revealed that the officers on duty on that fateful day have been tried and recommendations given and that the Command was waiting for the outcome.

She called on the family to stop blaming the police, “the police did not murder the boy. Our duty is not to kill people, we safeguard lives and property. We don’t kill people, what has happened has happened. It is his destiny, it is circumstance. If the police have the opportunity, we will not allow people to die in our custody, it is not our wish”, adding that the boy decided to take his own life, “they should not put it on the police”, she hinted.

She debunked allegation of intimidation, “there was no intimidation, the police did not intimidate them. A case of office breaking and stealing was reported and things were stolen, items were recovered. So, the police were just carrying out their legitimate duty and it was unfortunate that the boy decided to come and hang himself in the police custody”, she regretted.

It would be recalled that The Nigerian Voice had reported that the Delta State Police Command under the watch of Usman Baba Alkali is currently battling to save her head from the alleged gruesome murder of a suspect, Ogodobiri Ebifemene, who was till his death, a watchman with the state Ministry of Oil and Gas.

He was arrested on 17th November, 2015 in connection with a missing laptop in the ministry and was reportedly rushed to the police hospital and subsequently died on 20th of that same month in the police hospital after complaining of headache and later certified dead but was allegedly found hung in the toilet cell’s of “A” Division Police Station, Asaba.